This election is on a knife-edge. Pollsters say Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats and Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are tied. So what’s critical in the final 36 hours of this campaign is that the majority of Ontarians come together now. If that happens, it’s no tie. It’s a win.
Before this campaign started, the Ford Conservatives touched 50 per cent support in a couple of polls. Ford said he was the only vote for change. But Horwath inspired hope for a better change — for something completely different than the politics of bad and worse.
Horwath asked people to imagine an Ontario with better health care, with pharmacare and with dental care. She asked them to imagine an Ontario where we address tuition debt, help seniors retire in dignity, build a child-care system that saves young parents literally tens of thousands of dollars a year — letting them save for their family’s future.
Horwath had the courage to write it all down in a plan and show everybody exactly how she’d pay for it.
And many people who had been voting Liberal or Conservative responded with enthusiasm. The logjam was broken. Support for her New Democrats surged. Ford’s Conservatives fell.
Two months ago, a Ford victory was inevitable. Today, a better change is possible. Thursday we vote. And if we stand together then, the next day the work starts to make Horwath’s plan a reality.
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Because of the hope her plan inspired, Horwath is now the only leader who can defeat Ford. In the middle of the election, Kathleen Wynne gave up. Her Liberals may be reduced to just one or two seats. They could be shut out entirely. Somewhere between 60 and 65 per cent of Ontarians don’t want Ford. They don’t want Ford’s cuts. They don’t share Ford’s values. That majority needs to come together — and vote together.
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If Ford wins, there will be a big tax cut for the highest income earners. But he won’t show voters a plan of where he’d cut to pay for it — because it will come from hospitals and schools.
Ford will continue the sell-off of our public assets, like our electricity grid.
And scandal follows Ford wherever he goes. One-quarter of his candidates face lawsuits, probes or police investigation.
Ford has built the myth that he is a successful businessman and that “the Ford family” sticks together. But it seems those myths are just as untrue as the one that says he’s “for the people.”
The recent news about the allegations made in a lawsuit brought by Renata Ford — the widow of Doug Ford’s late brother, Rob — reminds us all about Doug Ford’s character. It says a lot about him that his brother’s widow goes to these extraordinary lengths.
The claim filed in court suggests Ford is ruining the business he inherited from his father, using it like a personal ATM. The documents allege he has run up $6 million in operating losses while sucking out “excessive” compensation and putting unqualified friends in jobs.
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These allegations are damning, if true. Look at what it would say about how he treats his own family. Do you think he cares about your family? Look at how he allegedly mismanaged his father’s business. Can you trust him with your province?
Ford will not inspire this province — he will drag it down. Now everybody who values our hospitals and schools — who wants to fix them, not make them worse — needs to vote together.
It doesn’t matter how you voted in the past. Everyone can help Horwath defeat Ford on Thursday.
No one needs to waste their vote — or vote with anger. We just have to vote together.
Tom Parkin is a former NDP advisor and a political commentator with a social democratic point of view.
Tom Parkin joins Deb Hutton and Omar Khan on Global News’ regular political panel, appearing on Global Toronto and AM 640 Corus radio throughout the campaign and as part of our election night coverage.